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Merced man among those killed by alleged DUI drivers over Thanksgiving holiday

News

It was a deadly holiday weekend on California roads.

The California Highway Patrol was in a maximum enforcement period. They were on the lookout for drunk drivers. Dozens of people lost their lives and hundreds were arrested statewide.

Four people were killed on valley roads from Modesto to Bakersfield. Officer Mike Salas with the CHP said it’s one of the deadliest times of year.

“It’s not surprising. Although we put out these messages year after year, we’re still having these people make these poor decisions, resulting in some ultimate sacrifices to other victims,” he said.

One life changing moment came early Sunday in central Fresno. It happened around 1:40 a.m. on northbound Highway 99 near Clinton.

22-year-old Amado Ventura was allegedly drunk behind the wheel as a young couple stood on the shoulder after a minor crash.

“At which point a DUI driver coming from behind unfortunately made some poor decisions, made an improper turning movement and collided not only into their vehicle but into the two pedestrians that had just exited their vehicle,” Salas said.

The CHP reports 28-year-old Joshua Eisen died on scene. Family of his wife 28-year-old Jennifer Ramos said she’s now in critical condition at CRMC, undergoing her second of many surgeries.

According to the CHP statewide the numbers were down this year:

There were 867 DUI arrests, compared to 931 in 2018. The 2019 year also saw a drop in total fatalities, with 30 killed in 2019, and 46 in 2018.

“Although we saw a slight reduction in the amount of DUI’s statewide. It was still pretty high,” Salas said.

The CHP is planning another maximum enforcement period starting just before Christmas and running through New Years.

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